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English: mushrooms

English: mushrooms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are laden with nutritional goodness including Vitamin D aka the “sunshine vitamin,” B vitamins such as niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin, Beta-glucans, copper, ergothioneine, good fibre content, potassium, selenium and long-chain polysaccharides 

WELLNESS

These astoundingly powerful little fungi are a perennial favorite in the produce aisle amongst health-minded individuals as they are practically limitless in variety, eager sponges to soak up flavor and have innumerable health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Mushrooms have been shown to reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer.  Selenium has the ability to protect women from bladder cancer.  They also contain “aromatase inhibitors,” which may prevent the development of breast cancer in women.  In addition, mushrooms contain certain compounds, still being studied, that show promise in halting prostate enlargement and prohibiting prostate cancer in men

Bone health Copper and Vitamin D both help maintain strong and healthy bones less likely to lose mass as one ages.  Vitamin D, in particular, helps absorb calcium, which is critical for good bone health and can prevent osteoporosis

Diabetes help Mushrooms are incredibly low on the glycemic index and consuming mushrooms on a regular basis can help lower blood glucose levels

Digestive system health Niacin helps the digestive system function properly

Heart health Selenium is a mineral that works much like an anti-oxidant by shielding the body’s cells from harmful free radicals that could lead to coronary disease.  Potassium helps regulate blood pressure.  The relatively high insoluble fibre content in mushrooms can help lower and maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels.  Anti-oxidant ergothioneine prevents atherosclerosis.  Mushrooms are cholesterol-free, virtually fat-free and low in sodium, all news to cheer about for those concerned about their heart health

Immune system health Mushrooms are known to have strong anti-biotic properties and such modern medicines as penicillin and tetracycline actually derive from this miracle fungus.   Because of their long-chain polysaccharides, selenium content and rare anti-oxidant ergothioneine, mushrooms have outstanding effects on the immune system such as fighting infections and decreasing inflammation.  Riboflavin maintains healthy red blood cells and Beta-glucans are natural immune system boosters

Men’s health Selenium has been said to increase fertility in men

Nervous system health Copper, niacin, pantothenic acid and potassium all work to ensure a well-functioning nervous system

Urinary system health Selenium does wonders in maintaining a healthy bladder

 

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Anti-oxidant properties Ergothioneine is a lesser-known anti-oxidant that protects the body’s cells from free radical damage.  Cremini and Portobello mushrooms, in particular, are extremely high in their anti-oxidant prowess.  Anti-oxidants will strengthen your hair follicles and make you less likely to experience split ends.  They make the skin more supple and elastic and the nails strong and resilient.

 

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Nutritional intake Mushrooms are extremely low in calories, ranging between 15 and 42 calories per cup, dependent, of course, on the variety of mushroom.  They are also completely fat-free, cholesterol-free and quite low in sodium.  Rich in fibre and readily absorbent of flavor, they are a fantastic means of sating your hunger and taste cravings while making your belly feel full.  Their decent fibre content, especially when cooked and rid of their water content, will keep your body flushed out on a regular basis, which of course means more regular weight loss

 

Metabolism Beta-glucans help metabolize fats and sugars in the body and B-vitamins are notorious for converting carbohydrates into much needed fuel to give you energy throughout your day.  B-vitamins also assist in successfully metabolizing fats and proteins

 

COOKING

 

Mushrooms come in such a wide gamut of varieties you can spend your whole culinary existence having fun experimenting with different shapes, textures and flavor profiles

Stuffed mushroom caps as an appetizer are always a big hit at parties or use big ones for a meal all on their own.  First, line a lightly oiled baking tray with your favorite fresh, stemmed mushrooms.  In a bowl, combine roughly cut cashew nuts, a few minced garlic cloves, a couple of turns of quality EVOO, a splash of lemon juice,baby spinach and finish with a dollop of persian fetta  Stuff the mushroom cavities and bake them in the oven for a good twenty minutes or so.

For a sumptuous appetizer, or even a meal in and of itself on a cold winter’s day, concoct a steaming pot of cannelini bean and mushroom soup.  All you need are cooked cannelini beans, tahini paste, some butter,  chicken or vegetable broth, as many of your favorite mushrooms, two minced garlic cloves, an onion, two ribs of celery, salt and pepper to taste.

Portobello mushroom and Lentil burgers are a popular favorite amongst vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike as they are thick and meaty and stand up well to grilling.  Spice them as you would your favorite burger using lentil patties as the bread, thrown on a slice of grilled haloumi cheese, some avocado, fresh rocket and well grilled mushies, top with some homemade tomato relish, and you will be in savory burger heaven.

“I am… a mushroom; On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then.” ~John Ford

Portobello mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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stock-photo-side-view-of-a-stuffed-turkey-on-a-bed-of-italian-flat-leaf-parsley-being-carved-61453081Health Benefits of Turkey

Just one mere serving of turkey has over half the daily recommended intake of protein. In addition, turkey meat is laden with B-complex vitamins, biotin, choline, copper, folate, folic acid, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, tryptophan and zinc

WELLNESS

The grand news about this beloved and historical poultry product is that it isn’t just a tasty staple protein; it also has a slew of terrific health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Tryptophan produces T-cells, which in turn, fight off cancer cells. Selenium is a vital anti-oxidant that combats cancer-inducing free radicals in the body. Recent studies have shown that a portion of turkey eaten daily, minus the skin, lowers the risk of pancreatic cancer, in particular

Anti-inflammatory properties Turkey meat has a marked amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help alleviate arthritis and asthma

Blood sugar/Insulin Vitamin B6 is in abundance in turkey meat and helps regulate and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. High protein foods like turkey can help keep insulin levels within a preferred range

Heart health White skinless turkey meat is quite low in saturated fat. It is also pretty low in sodium, which is great news for folks with high blood pressure. Turkey has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol

Immune system health Selenium aids in the healthy functioning of the immune system. Tryptophan is a serotonin-producing amino acid that generally strengthens the immune system

Insomnia Tryptophan produces the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which calms mood, promotes overall well being and makes one far more likely to fall asleep with ease

Mood Tryptophan produces serotonin, an important neuro-transmitter that does wonders to elevate mood

Muscle health As turkey meat is rich in protein, moderate in carbs and low in calories, consuming it in conjunction with healthy exercise, can build strong and healthy muscles

Protein Turkey actually provides more protein per ounce than chicken! There are, in fact, 32 grams of protein in one 4 ounce serving, and protein-rich foods help regulate digestion

Thyroid health Selenium is crucial to healthy functioning of the thyroid

BEAUTY

Anti-oxidant properties Selenium is an anti-oxidant that combats cell-damaging free radicals that can result in premature aging.  Anti-oxidants help promote smooth, elastic skin, shiny hair and strong nails

WEIGHT LOSS Since turkey is a terrific source of protein, and relatively low in calories, it will award guilt-free, healthy nourishment that will keep you feeling full and satisfied, and far less likely to reach for empty snacks during the course of your day

Energy Turkey meat is a great source of B6 and niacin, both of which are vital for energy production

COOKING

When you are able to do so, buy an organic turkey as it generally has a higher nutrient content

Also, contrary to widespread belief, cooking turkey with the skin on is perfectly fine and recommended. The fat will NOT seep into the meat, and the skin will keep the meat from drying out.  However, you will want to remove the skin before actually consuming it

For a super juicy and tender American style Thanksgiving centerpiece, try one of the many “brine recipes” out there.  I did so a few years ago and my family still raves about how amazingly “un-dry” the bird was

But remember, turkey isn’t just for the holidays or the occasional reduced-guilt deli sandwich, the sky is the limit as far as creative recipes go…

Make a turkey and asparagus frittatta with egg  and several low fat cheeses of your liking. Fold and mold together a gourmet ground turkey meatloaf and serve it with whipped polenta and a side of garlicky sautéed spinach.  Or how about a tantalizing low-fat turkey tetrazzini made with whole quiona, low salt chicken broth, light cheese and low fat milk, or even a sumptuous turkey pot pie bubbling in a healthy, earthy crust made of brown rice and spinach?

stock-photo-close-up-of-a-plate-of-sliced-turkey-breast-butternut-squash-and-dressing-88623058 

“I have no desire to crow over anybody or to see anybody eating crow, figuratively or otherwise. We should all get together and make a country in which everybody can eat turkey whenever he pleases. ~Harry S. Truman

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Fruit of Artocarpus altilis (HART 49 MEIN POHN...

Fruit of Artocarpus altilis (HART 49 MEIN POHNSAKAR) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This fruit borne from a tropical rainforest tree of the same name, is a must-eat as it is literally bursting with energy and nutrients including calcium, copper, fiber, iron, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin and zinc, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

WELLNESS

Breadfruit is a sweet, creamy and fragrant wonder with a large handful of health benefits including but not limited to

 Anti-cancer properties Due to its high fibre content, breadfruit has considerable laxative properties and can protect the colon and ward off cancer-causing chemicals. Vitamin C and copper both repair and regenerate skin cells and tissue

Bone health The omega fatty acids found in breadfruit promote good bone health

Constipation Due to its fair share of fibre, breadfruit can help ease constipation

Diabetes The fibre in breadfruit reduces the absorption of glucose in the varied foodstuffs we ingest and thus can prove useful in the fight against diabetes

Heart health Its wealth of fibre reduces bad cholesterol in the blood, elevates good cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. Potassium is abundant in breadfruit, as well, and can assist in regulating the heart rate. Iron improves blood circulation. Vitamin C’s amazing antioxidant abilities combat cell-damaging free radicals that can inflame cells and lead to heart disease

Immune system health There is almost half of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in breadfruit and vitamin C is vital in combatting the common cold, influenza and various other ailments and strengthening the immune system as a whole

BEAUTY

Vitamin C and the flavonoid anti-oxidants inherent in breadfruit are crucial in fighting off cell-damaging free radicals, which, in turn, prevent premature aging and result in smoother, more elastic skin and hair, and strong, healthy nails less prone to brittle breakage

WEIGHT LOSS

 Fibre With its abundance of fibre, breadfruit has exemplary laxative abilities that can rid the body of waste en masse and promote more marked and regular weight loss. Breadfruit is also a terrific kick-starter to your exercise regime, as it will award you a terrific almost instantaneous burst of energy

COOKING

When fully ripe, breadfruits have a sweet, creamy consistency that is a pleasure to eat in the raw

Some people claim that like tofu, breadfruit doesn’t have all that much taste, but this makes it an ideal blank canvas for getting creative in the kitchen. One of the simplest ways to enjoy and reap the benefits from this exotic fruit is to peel it like you would a potato, slice it and then either fry it in a little macadamia, peanut or coconut oil or some low fat butter or bake it to make some unique breadfruit fries or chips.

Cubed breadfruit is often added to slow-cookin’ soups and stews

Mashed breadfruit is the perfect binder for savory and sweet tropical fish cakes

Interesting fact about breadfruit: An adult breadfruit tree can yield an impressive 100 fruits per season!

 

Fruta Pão (=Breadfruit)

Fruta Pão (=Breadfruit) (Photo credit: Henrique Vicente)